Gone is Casey Printers.
Gone is the starting quarterback controversy.
Gone is the sideshow that constantly followed the B.C. Lions for the last two years.
It's now a boring team to cover for the media, but the Lions are loving life now that the enigmatic Printers is in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and Dave Dickenson is calling the shots as the undisputed starter on the West Coast.
DICKENSON HAS LEOS ON TOP
In fact, Dickenson is thriving in the new setup and his remarkable play has the 2-1 Lions on top of the West Division as they meet the Edmonton Eskimos tonight at Commonwealth Stadium.
"There are less distractions this year," said veteran offensive lineman Kelly Bates. "I'm sure it is easier for Dave."
For his part, Dickenson is trying to downplay the ramifications of Printers' departure, saying it isn't a big deal.
But other key members of that locker-room believe life is different.
"It's a comforting feeling," said centre Angus Reid. "And Dave has done an amazing job this year."
That is almost an understatement.
Although he hasn't played three full games this season, Dickenson is completing nearly 76% of his passes, has totalled almost 900 yards, has a ridiculous 123.2 quarterback rating and has thrown nine touchdowns.
To put that in perspective, Ricky Ray, Henry Burris and Jason Maas entered action this week having thrown eight TD passes combined.
And while Eskimo fans are hoping the Surgeon - as Dickenson is called for his precision passing - will hobble onto the Commonwealth Stadium grass tonight like he hobbled off the B.C. Place turf last week with a knee problem, that won't be the case.
Dickenson had some fluid buildup in a bursar sack in one knee last Friday, but had most of the fluid drained this week.
"It is sore and tender, but I don't think it is going to be an issue," said Dickenson.
The injury is so minor that Lions head coach Wally Buono was in a joking mood with reporters yesterday.
"Dave has played with a separated shoulder (before)," cracked Buono. "I don't think a little bruise on his knee will keep him out."
SECONDARY HAS TO STEP UP
In reality, the Eskimos know their revamped defensive line with Joe Montford on the edge has to get to Dickenson, but will need help from the secondary in coverage.
"The biggest thing for us is not letting (Dickenson) get to his first and second read as quick as he would like to," said Montford.
"If we can get him (looking) to this third read (third choice receiver), then I think I can get to him."
And Montford knows he's going to have to chase Dickenson all night because a couple of hard hits isn't going to send him to the sidelines or make him too ineffective.
"It's kind of hard to defend heart," continued Montford.
"A lot of times you get to a guy and if you pound him a couple of times his will is broken.
"That is not going to happen with Dave."